Utah Asset Forfeiture

Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State's Civil Forfeiture Law 

We challenged prosecutors in three of Utah’s largest counties who decided that they did not have to abide by a forfeiture reform initiative passed overwhelmingly by Utah citizens in 2000. Under the initiative, civil forfeiture proceeds must go into the state’s education fund or be used to compensate victims of crime. Prosecutors hated this requirement because under the old law, they were able to keep forfeiture proceeds for their own use. Utah law enforcement officials tried to defeat the initiative at the polls, then in court. Both efforts failed. But three district attorneys took their unseemly campaign one step further by refusing to abide by the initiative altogether. Using completely unfounded arguments, the prosecutors diverted close to a quarter of a million dollars in forfeiture funds into their own accounts rather than to the state education fund as required by the initiative.  It was only after IJ, representing several Utah citizens filed a notice of cause with the Attorney General and put the district attorneys on notice that they would face a lawsuit, did the prosecutors capitulate and return the money.

Essential Background


Backgrounder: Ending Prosecution for Profit in Utah; Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State’s Civil Forfeiture Law

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Latest Release: Ending “Prosecution for Profit” in Utah: Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State’s Civil Forfeiture Law (June 24, 2003)

Legal Briefs and Decisions

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Case Timeline

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Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Media Advisory: Ending "Prosecution for Profit" in Utah—Citizens Demand Prosecutors Follow State’s Civil Forfeiture Law (June 23, 2003)

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Op-eds, News Articles and Links


Video: Forfeiture Abuse: Even Your Drums Aren't Safe From the Police; (February 28, 2011)

Video: Fox Business: IJ's Scott Bullock discusses "policing for profit" with David Asman; (August 10, 2010)

Video: Policing for Profit - The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture; (March 30, 2010)

Article: IJ Helps End Utah’s Prosecution for Profit Liberty & Law (October 2003)



Article: Ending "Policing for Profit": IJ Represents Utah Citizens Fighting Forfeiture Abuse Liberty & Law (August 2003)

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